Geneseo Mathematics Colloquium Schedule

Spring 2012


Wednesday, Februrary 1, 2:30 - 3:30pm
Newton 204
Jeff Johannes, SUNY College at Geneseo

Évariste Galois, Hector Berlioz, and Algebraic Equations

This lively (and at times emotional) presentation will feature a history of the solution of algebraic equations and conclude with a discussion of the life and times of composer Hector Berlioz and mathematician Evariste Galois in post-Napoleonic France.

It will be accessible to anyone who understands the quadratic formula.


Thursday, February 16, 4:00 - 4:50pm
Newton 204
Linda Bjork, Munich Reinsurance America

A day in the life of an actuary

A day in the life of an actuaryActuaries analyze risk, forecasting an organization’s potential for loss (or profit), playing a key role in helping organizations plan the future.  We use mathematical models to assist in solving complex problems.  Today, I will provide a brief overview of my background and current role.  Then I will review three “areas” of mathematics that are used during a typical actuary's career.  I will provide an example of how loss distributions (the third area) are used to model potential insurance claims.  We will explore how these models can be used to determine the potential for losses of different sizes.



Monday, February 20, 3:30-4:20pm
Newton 203
Ryan Pietropaulo, North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics

A Vector Approach to Linear Regression

Linear Regression is a commonly used tool in modeling problems but is rarely understood by its users.  A vector calculus approach of this topic will be explored to give a geometric interpretation of the ideas behind the regression line, the correlation coefficient, and what is meant by the term “least squares”.  An extension to quadratic, cubic, and planar regression will also be developed using basic linear algebra.  


Friday, February 24, 3:30-4:20pm
Newton 201
Huijun Yi, Southern Illinois University

Statistical Analysis on Contingency Tables

In this talk, contingency tables that display relationships between categorical variables are introduced. To describe a contingency table I define some primary parameters. Also two statistical methods for analyzing contingency tables are presented, namely, independence test and estimation of cell probabilities. These two methods play a vital role in categorical data analysis, and both assume a Multinomial sampling. Lastly I focus on model building for two-way contingency tables, which is connected to the research for my Ph. D. dissertation.


Tuesday, February 28, 3:30-4:20pm
Newton 203
Yusuf Bilgic, Western Michigan University

Regression analysis

Regression analysis is a statistical methodology that utilizes the relationship between two or more quantitative variables. The aim of this talk is intuitively to investigate three methods in building linear regression: Least Squares, Maximum Likelihood and Nonparametric. We will discuss the geometry behind these methods.




Thursday, March 29, 2:30-3:20pm
Newton 203
Jacqueline Jensen, Slippery Rock University

Greeting Card Mathematics

Everyday objects can open up mathematical vistas. This talk will show how a greeting card inspired our study of knot theory. The audience will learn that there are some very knice properties of knots, including:

·         The definitions are clear.

·         There are lots of cool pictures.

·         There are even cooler (and easy to ask) questions.

We will introduce knots and many of these knice properties of knots, with a concentration on mathematically celtic knots. Not only (or is it knot only?) is this talk accessible to students, but it will spotlight work done by a student.

Wednesday, April 11, 2:30 - 3:20pm
Newton 203
Nicole Juersivich, Nazareth College

Student Teachers’ Use of Technology-Generated Representations: Exemplars and Rationales

The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics identified technology as a feature of high-quality mathematics education. One way that teachers can use technology to facilitate their pupils’ mathematical understanding is by generating and exploring multiple representations of mathematical ideas. If pre-service secondary mathematics teachers (PSMTs) experience a technology-rich environment prior to student teaching, to what extent will they use this experience in their student teaching? This talk will describe two cohorts of PSMTs’ (1) experiences in doing and practice-teaching mathematics in a technology-rich environment, (2) subsequent incorporation of technology-generated representation in student teaching, and (3) rationales for using such representations.

SOCIAL TIME WITH NAZARETH COLLEGE STUDENTS:  The speaker is bringing several students from Nazareth College, enrolled in her math education undergraduate research class.  Snacks will be provided for an hour after the colloquium to stimulate one-on-one discussions.  Please stick around to meet the speaker and the visiting students!


Thursday, April 26, 4-4:50pm
Newton 209
Anthony J. Macula, SUNY College at Geneseo

Covert Combinatorial, Superimposed and Information Theoretic DNA Taggants for Brand Protection and Security

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project develops a mathematically engineered DNA-based covert taggant security technology, called ComDBarTag, that forensically marks objects with synthetic DNA nano-barcodes for brand protection, product liability protection, verification of authenticity and forensic track and trace-back. Pharmaceutical manufacturers, petrochemical companies, brand owners and governments need thousands of covert and unique signatures to protect their drugs, fuel, products, documents and citizens.

The broader impacts of this research include anti-counterfeiting, law enforcement, liability protection, and improved public health and safety. Counterfeiting costs the U.S. economy $250 billion per year and is responsible for the loss of 750,000 American jobs. The counterfeiting of the drug heparin has been linked to the deaths of over a hundred Americans with hundreds more having severe allergic reactions. Counterfeit fuel causes losses of about $100 billion per year worldwide to governments and private enterprises due to adulteration, theft, diversion and excise tax evasion. Adulterated gasoline damages automotive components and its combustion harms public health.

Applications of some mathematical methods will also be discussion.

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